BOSTON (State House News Service) — Teachers, early educators and school staff members will be able to sign up beginning March 11 for vaccination appointments at any vaccination site in the state and some mass vaccination sites will hold aside particular days to vaccinate educators, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday morning.
As soon as Baker made the announcement from a school in Gloucester, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken let out a loud exclamation, "Yes!"
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that he was ordering the federal pharmacy program to prioritize the vaccination of pre-K-12 teachers and staff and child care workers at pharmacies and directed the roughly 20 states that had not already made teachers eligible to do the same.
"My challenge to all states, territories, and the District of Columbia is this: We want every educator, school staff member, childcare worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March," Biden said, adding that not every teacher would be able to secure an appointment in the first week.
By Wednesday morning, CVS had added K-12 teachers to the list of populations eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at its clinics, including those in Massachusetts.
That announcement came just after Senate President Karen Spilka called on Baker to set aside a percentage of vaccine doses for teachers and to put a teacher vaccination program in place this month. House Speaker Ronald Mariano had previously said teachers should have already been made eligible for the vaccine.
The demand for vaccine shots has vastly outpaced the supply, causing frustration and chaos as the hundreds of thousands of eligible people compete for the tens of thousands of available appointments each week. Both Pfizer and Moderna are expected to increase their production in March and the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine approved last week is making its way to clinics in Massachusetts and around the country, offering hope of an accelerating vaccination effort.
But Baker said Wednesday that the White House told states not to expect any substantial increase in supply until the end of March and cautioned that the addition of teachers and school staff to the eligible pool of residents means it will take longer to get to the next rounds of eligibility.
By Colin A. Young, State House News Service